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Research Cloud RFP
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FAQs Register
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To ask a question please fill in the online form.
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Reponses to questions will be made within 3 business days of submission.
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QuestionAnswer
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1How much money are you investing?We have a budget limit of $4.5m in 2019/20
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2What are you aiming to do?ARDC aims to replace/refresh sufficient existing Nectar compute infrastructure to ensure capacity is maintained for researchers using the Nectar Research Cloud
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3Who can submit a proposal?Any organisation which is able to implement infrastructure which can be federated into the Nectar federation within the timelines outlined
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4When is the deadline for RFP intent confirmation? *There is no deadline for registering your interest in the RFP. Registering your interest will ensure that you receive timely updates.
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Can you please confirm that 'intent' is non-binding? *
Registering interest to submit a proposal is non-binding. It is a register of interested parties to ensure ARDC is able to communicate consistently across all applicants. There is no requirement to submit a proposal at any stage.
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* please note the "registration of intent" has been changed to a register of interest
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6Can organisations submit combined proposals?Yes. We will contract with a single entity but any number of organisations can combine efforts to create a submission
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7Do we envisage there being a domain focus for applications (eg a case for bio researchers, or researchers in HASS)?While the initial Nectar proposal had a strong domain focus, we have found that the infrastructure ends up being more effectively driven from a geographical or institutional/organisational basis. Eg researchers in a particular state can get information, assistance, and access from their “local” provider. We do also have examples of effective national models within organisations which are able to use the resources across their membership pool, regardless of where the researchers are located.
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8How do you envisage working directly with institutions and the cross connect with NZ organisations?We already have direct engagement with some institutions in the Nectar federation and this model works well. We cannot take applications from NZ organisations however we would look to continue to support collaboration with NZ researchers and organisations.
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9Is the intention to build infrastructure - or could it also be a hybrid model of public and private clouds?For this round the infrastructure has to be part of the Nectar cloud federation so any infrastructure needs to be able to do that, which is challenging for some, for example, public clouds. This RFP is about maintaining capacity for the next few years in the Nectar cloud, but in the future we are looking to explore how we can support researcher’s use of hybrid cloud(s) more fully.
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10When you talk about applying for the amount of capacity to support national merit allocations, are you suggesting that there is self assertion of merit?An activity which has been awarded funding via a national competitive granting scheme (such as the ARC or NHMRC) or an NCRIS capability is what we would consider appropriate. There is therefore no need for local appraisal of merit. Proposers could look to aggregate this demand across multiple organisations. There is no guarantee that anyone would get the amount of capacity that they ask for.
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11Can proposers provide ARDC with a draft proposal for feedback before submission?No, but they can ask detailed questions about the RFP and any of the sections in the proposal form, and discuss ideas for their proposal.
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12One of the items flagged in Part A as an example of coinvestment is infrastructure maintenance. Usually the purchase of equipment would include a charge for a maintenance contract. Is it expected that the Proposer would cover that cost as part of their co-investment?All procured infrastructure must be covered by maintenance contracts matching the 3 year operation period and the funding required for this should be included as a component of the procurement proposal.
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13Is the Practical Completion certificate for project completion to be provided after commissioning of the equipment, or after completion of the agreed period of operation of the infrastructure?After the infrastructure is commissioned, i.e. is deployed and has passed acceptance tests and is available in the Nectar Cloud.
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14In Part B there is a reference to an ARDC Data Sets and Collections Node, is that the new terminology for what was an RDS/RDSI Node?Yes.
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15Part B says the proposed ARDC Research Cloud Steering Committee would include representation from the Research Cloud Nodes funded under the cloud refresh RFP. If an existing Node is not funded under the RFP, would they still have representation on the Steering Committee?The representation of this committee is yet to be determined, but we would expect that to be the case, if the Node’s infrastructure remains part of the Nectar Research Cloud federation.
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16Would each Node have representation on the proposed Technical Advisory Committee?The representation of this committee is yet to be determined but we expect it will include representatives from Nodes that are part of the Research Cloud federation.
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17Part D asks for information about target research communities. Given that this is a refresh of existing infrastructure which supports a broad range of communities, what information is expected here?Questions 7 and 8 of the proposal form ask about institutions and research communities, so proposers could specify which institutions they intend to support, but it would also be useful to highlight any research domains or major research activities that will be supported by the infrastructure.
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18Part D section 18 asks for how customer satisfaction with the proposed project’s planning will be measured. Is there any advice on how this could be done and what is expected?The intent of this point is to ensure that proposers have effectively considered how to include the main nationally prioritised research activities and users they are aiming to support in discussions and planning of infrastructure requirements and solutions, thereby ensuring the proposed infrastructure will meet their requirements. Please provide an outline of the proposed engagement, scoping, and planning activities you will engage in to ensure the proposed infrastructure will meet the target communities’ requirements
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19Part B says this funding is predominantly to support the standard flavours, but if the main target research communities at a Node require non-standard infrastructure such as GPUs or large memory nodes, is it acceptable to have a proposal that just asks for such non-standard infrastructure as opposed to infrastructure to support standard flavours?It’s fine to request some non-standard infrastructure if you can justify significant demand for it from nationally prioritised research projects, however currently most of the usage of the research cloud is using the standard flavours, and we need to continue to support that usage, so we wouldn’t expect all the new infrastructure to be for non-standard flavours. Proposals which intend to outline significantly non-standard infrastructure need to describe how this will not have a negative impact on the current users of standard infrastructure.
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20There are some interesting new server architectures being proposed but pricing for those is still some way off. Could the proposal just include indicative pricing that would be clarified later once pricing is available from vendors?Yes, if you can provide good indicative pricing for these servers. Alternatively you can provide actual pricing for current servers but indicate you are looking to deploy newer versions if they are available in time. Ordering of equipment could be a couple of months after proposals are submitted, so if there are newer servers or prices available during that time, ARDC could approve those if they are not too different to what was proposed.
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21Is it OK to provide an indicative quote for equipment in the proposal, and then a revised quote if the proposal is approved?Yes. Revised quotes can be provided to ARDC if the proposal is successful, and these will need to be approved by ARDC prior to contracting.
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